Blue Devil girls bring positives home from tourney

Wa-Hi coach Jill Meliah says the trip to Coeur d'Alene was 'a great experience.'

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COEUR d’ALENE — Wa-Hi’s girls basketball team took a lot of positives away from the Coeur d’Alene Holiday Inn Express Classic that concluded here Wednesday at North Idaho College.

But only one victory.

Post Falls, Idaho, rode Kaitlin Looper’s 34-point assault to a 69-56 victory over the Blue Devils in their tournament finale early Wednesday morning, leaving Wa-Hi with a 1-2 record for their stay here and a 5-3 mark overall. Wa-Hi opened play on Monday with a 49-43 victory Lake City, Idaho, and was defeated by Coeur d’Alene 45-31 on Tuesday.

First-year Wa-Hi coach Jill Meliah said her team showed definite signs of fatigue Wednesday morning.

"Defensively we were a step slow," Meliah said. "It was an all-around frustrating game. It was our third game in three days, and staying in a hotel, it showed."

But Meliah didn’t regret Wa-Hi’s second appearance in this tournament in as many years for a single moment.

"We learned a lot from being up here," she said. "We played some good teams, and we got better, both individually and as a team. And we found out a lot of things we can work on in practice.

"But overall, it was a great experience."

The Blue Devils trailed by a bucket, 12-10, after one quarter and by six points, 28-22, at halftime. Post Falls broke the game open by outscoring the Blue Devils 26-17 in the third period.

Jamie Weisner led the Blue Devils with 23 points, sinking 7-of-11 shots from the field and 9-of-11 from the free-throw line. Jill McDaniels followed with 18 points as she sank four 3-pointers and 6-of-8 free throws.

But the Wa-Hi duo couldn’t offset Post Falls’ Looper, who was 8-for-16 from the field, including four treys, and was good on 14-of-15 free-throw attempts.

"She was on fire," Meliah said of Looper. "We had a hand in her face but we couldn’t stop her. She was able to take us off the dribble and we kept putting her on the free-throw line."

Defensively, the Blue Devils need to work on moving their feet and avoiding reach-in fouls, Meliah said. But more than anything, she said, they need to become more physical.

"We need to get tougher," Meliah said. "They (referees) were letting the girls play up here, and we need to figure out ways to get through screens and how to respond to physical plays without fouling. Some of our fouls were frustration fouls because we were tired.

"But if we can get to state we will be in the same boat. So it’s nice to get this experience now."

Weisner, who scored 63 points combined in the three games, was named to the all-tournament team.

The Blue Devils will be off until Jan. 3 when they open Big Nine Conference Cascade Division play at home against Eisenhower.

WA-HI (56) — Baker 1-4 0-0 2, Jacobson 0-2 0-2 0, Weisner 7-11 9-11 23, Adkins 0-1 0-0 0, McDaniels 4-15 6-8 18, Hamada 0-0 0-0 0, Reardon 2-5 0-2 4, Christensen 2-7 1-2 5, Anderson 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 18-47 16-25 56.

POST FALLS (69) — Tennison 2-2 0-0 4, King 4-5 2-2 11, Franklin 0-1 0-0 0, Howard 2-5 2-3 6, Davenport 0-0 0-0 0, Lataliens 0-0 3-4 3, Looper 8-16 14-15 34, Scott 1-2 1-1 3, Meehaw 4-6 0-0 8. Totals 21-37 22-25 69.

Wa-Hi 10 12 17 17—56

Post Falls 12 16 26 15—69

3-point goals — Wa-Hi (McDaniels 4), Post Falls (King, Looper 4). Total fouls — Wa-Hi 20, Post Falls 19. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — none. Rebounds — Wa-Hi 29 (Weisner 6), Post Falls 22 (Meehaw 5). Turnovers — Wa-Hi 15, Post Falls 9.

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